What if instead of a train ride, plane ticket and taxi fare, you could pay for your entire trip from home to hotel through one mobile app?
This idea – a functional door-to-door travel chain – is often at the core when the future of travel is being discussed. Different companies that offer transport and travel services are coming together to figure out new solutions for passengers’ need for mobility.
Laura Eiro, Director of Markets Unit from the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications, shares her thoughts on how travel chains are developing and how they could benefit passengers’ lives.
What are travel chains?
"Travel chains refer to door-to-door transport services that combine several different modes of transport under one ticket. Travel chains are at the core of so-called Mobility as a Service (MaaS) thinking. The basic principle is ease of travel: The passenger is able to book, pay and receive information about their trip through one service – usually a mobile platform", Eiro says.
How will air travelers benefit from travel chains?
"The benefits for air travellers come from two aspects. First, the trip to the airport and from the airport will likely become smoother. On the other hand, travel chains may also be thought of as a larger whole, where the passenger could buy the entire trip from home to destination and back – including the plane ticket – from one service", Eiro explains.
"That means the passenger will not have to acquire many tickets and will likely save money as they won’t need to use their own car or a taxi for the whole trip. In addition to passenger transport, travel chains can include other extra services such as transporting luggage in advance".
How are travel chains developing at the moment? When will door-to-door travel become a reality?
"In principle, within Finland, door-to-door is already possible and the first MaaS operators have already launched their services. Internationally, Vienna and Berlin are far along in enabling travel chains. So far, the services work locally. However, there are no technical barriers to creating global door-to-door travel chains, so the shift to door-to-door travel chains, for instance within Europe, could happen quickly", Eiro says.
What are the biggest challenges for door-to-door travel chains?
"The biggest challenges will likely involve international, cross-border travel chains and MaaS roaming. There needs to be a functional market in order for private operators to develop better services. It also requires that different operators in the travel industry are willing to work together in new ways to create better services for customers", says Eiro.